Tag Archives: Buster Keaton

The Butcher Boy

Rip roaring silent comedy film “The Butcher Boy” (1917) starring Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Alice Lake among others.

Fatty (Roscoe Arbuckle) is a butcher boy in a store in love with the owner’s daughter Amanda (Alice Lake). Slim is his rival also wanting her hand. Uproarious scenes at the store and when a customer (Buster Keaton) comes in for molasses, mayhem occurs.

Amanda’s father packs her off to a all female boarding school. Fatty disguises as a girl and comes to meet her and enrols in the same school. Slim also has the same idea.

Split second timing, comic gags all aplenty in this wonderful movie. Some of the comic scenes made in 1917 are relevant today also. Brilliant movie to watch. Its first time i am discovering Fatty Arbuckle talents. He is simply marvelous.

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Sherlock Jr.

Rip roaring silent comedy “Sherlock Jr.”(1924) directed by Buster Keaton and starring himself and Kathryn McGuire in the leading roles.

Buster is a movie projectionist while dreaming to be a detective also. He is in love with a girl Kathryn McGuire but has no money to buy presents for her. He buys $1.00 worth of gifts and presents to the girl as $4.00. Buster has a rival who is unscrupulous and wont to cheat and steal in order to win the girl. He steals the girl’s father watch, pawns it and buys more expensive gift for the girl.

The girl’s father finds that his watch is missing. The thief slips his pawn ticket into Buster’s coat pocket and upon finding the same, he is banished from the girl’s house.

While playing a movie, he starts dreaming that he is an accomplished detective and foils the crime involving theft of pearl necklace from the girl’s house. Meanwhile, the girl is also kidnapped by the thief. Buster spoils the thief’s party and wins the heart of the girl, that is in the dream.

Meanwhile on coming out of the dream, Buster finds Kathryn at his work place with apologies for treating him as a criminal. There are plenty of uproarious gags in the movie all beautifully filmed with timing perfection. Buster is dead pan comedian unlike Charlie Chaplin whose facial expressions are legendary.

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The Goat

Rip roaring Buster Keaton comedy The Goat made in 1921. Silent comedy featuring Buster Keaton and Virginia Fox among others. Buster is walking by a grille window where inside the notorious gangster “Dead Shot Dan” picture is being taken by the police photographer. Dan maneuvers so that Buster’s picture is taken instead of Dan as Wanted Dead or Alive. What follows is one rip roaring comic scene after another. Buster’s timing is fantastic almost like that of Charlie Chaplin. In fact he is just another Chaplin without the Chaplinisque mime. Buster enters into a fracas involving a woman with a dog and a bystander haranguing her. Buster manages to beat him down. In the meanwhile the police chief is looking for him and following him everywhere.

Buster Keaton is brilliant his production values for a 1920 movie is quite exemplary. Worth watching any time.

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One Week

Brilliant 1920 comedy movie starring Buster Keaton & Sybil Seely. For a movie made in 1920 it is absolutely brilliant even by today’s standards. Buster Keaton has newly married the beautiful looking Sybil Seely and his uncle gives him a plot of land, in which he has construct his own house for which he has given him the wood as well. The challenge is to place the wood by numbers to get it right. But one dejected suitor of Sybil puts all the numbers wrong resulting in a lopsided house. There are lot of comic capers involving the house or ladders in which Buster excels. There is lot of Chaplinesque about him, minus the facial expressions of Chaplin. Then apparently he has constructed his house on a wrong plot no. 66 whereas it should have been at 99. They have to move the house across the railroad, but it gets stuck in the middle of the tracks. Whenever both Sybil and Buster appear on the screen together, it is pure magic. For a movie made in 1920, it is simply outstanding. This is rip-roaring comedy.

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The General

Buster Keaton and his rip roaring comedy in The General (1926) one of the finest silent era comedy films of all time. Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) is a train engineer and loves his engine and his lady love Annabelle (Marion Mack). When war breaks out, time comes to enlist for the Confederates, but he is rejected and his lady love also rejects him without an uniform. In the meanwhile, the Confederates are infiltrated by some spies who steal his train and make off with the supplies. Off goes Johnny after the train and some delightful comic scenes follows. Annabelle is meanwhile kept as captive by the Union soldiers and then Johnny has to rescue her, so some more delectable comic scenes. Buster Keaton’s comic timings were superb in the movie somewhat reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin. Fight ensues between Union and Confederate soldiers much to the relief and joy of the Confederates. Brilliant movie to watch especially for Buster Keaton. The direction and camera work were quite superb for that era, especially shots of the moving trains and the wilderness. Who knew a silent movie would prove to be so powerfully comic. Brilliant. 

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